November 7, 2011

The Blood Flows West - Hell on Wheels

Not content with spoiling us with a new season of The Walking Dead, AMC have just premiered a new series which debuted straight after The Walking Dead on November 6th. God bless them, because to tell the truth on the strength on the first episode I know what show I am looking forward to each week, and it doesn't feature the Undead. Don't get me wrong, I love The Walking Dead, it's a masterclass of television, yet we are well into season 2 and I am still more of a fan of the comic than I am of the show.

Hell on Wheels is a fiery and bloody breath of fresh air. Now, not everyone digs a Western but I do, and so far they have nailed this one. The show is set in the late 1860's after the Civil War and follows Cullen Bohannon as he travels west, working on the railroad that is being constructed. The title of the show refers to the traveling town, named Hell on Wheels, that moves as the construction moves. To go into more detail would really spoil the enjoyment you should get from it, as I am sure it will be repeated several times. Suffice to say there's corrupt politicians, slavery, Native Americans, prostitutes, preachers and booze, among other things, and it gets violent and bloody, oh there is plenty of blood.

There's a stellar cast on display which, whether intentionally or not, features Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine) AND Francis Dollarhyde (Tom Noonan), as well as rapper-turned-actor Common, the ever impressive Colm Meany and Anson Mount, who recently starred in the Straw Dogs remake. 

The tagline on the poster states that "Blood will be spilled, lives will be lost, men will be ruined". They should have added that "Sunday nights got even better". I personally thought AMC went a little off the boil with the flawed The Killing but they have come back screaming with vengeance with Hell on Wheels. It's dirty, it's gritty and it's damned good fun. 

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